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Flavor of tradition on canvas - a solo show by Kappari Kishan at Jehangir Art Gallery

Updated: Apr 3

Painting by Artist Kappari Kishan
Painting by Artist Kappari Kishan

To understand the significance of the artworks of Artist Kappari Kishan, we consulted, Dr M Madeswaran, a veteran in the history and culture of southern India. He explained that the paintings depict an ancient tradition of Tamil Nadu, named Jadai Pinnal.

Meenakshi's 1500 year old golden Jadai
Meenakshi's 1500 year old golden Jadai

In his own words, 'Pinnal means twining and twisting. It is a three thousand year old tradition mentioned in the scriptures. It has a similarity with the African hairstyle of women too. Lot of sculptures in Tamil Nadu since 13th century show this typical way of tying hair. Decorating the plait with special arrangement of flowers is a very important tradition for a girl attaining puberty or getting married or going for the first delivery. The interpretation comes from the Jewelry Sastram of South India. It says that hairs represent human feelings and emotions. Hence, hairs are not advised to be disheveled and let loose. They should be unified and focused in a single direction, tied together.'

In the light of this background, it is evident that a great tradition has been captured by artist Kappari Kishan in festive riot of colors on the canvases displayed at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai during his solo show. The exhibition of his paintings are being held between 25th March to 7th April '24.

The artist says that this tradition, once followed in strict adherence, is restricted to only very special occasions. The contrasting colors on his canvas create an aura of celebration and joy. The rear view of every character ensures that the viewer does not get stuck at any particular face but remains free to absorb the image as a whole.

Youth, culture and tradition resounds through his body of works. Also, in most paintings, more than one woman is seen standing side by side in great solidarity. The message that celebrations unite people, comes loud and clear through his paintings.

Kappari Kishan did a great favor to our country by keeping wonderful records of a fading tradition. Besides the historical aspect, we must say that his sense of balance and composition is of supreme order. Every neuron is set dancing in exhilaration as we look at the images. A sense of satisfaction sweeps through the soul of the viewer.

We look forward to more such novel artworks from this gifted artist.

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Works available of Artist Kappari Kishan at Tulika art gallery .

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